Chichester screening for Sparkling: The Story of Champagne

Swipe Films’ new feature-length documentary, Sparkling: The Story of Champagne will play at the New Park Cinema in Chichester on August 1 and 4.

Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 4:15 pm
Updated Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 4:16 pm
Bollinger HQ France
Bollinger HQ France

Frank Mannion makes his directorial debut. The film is produced by Oxana Popkova and Frank Mannion and edited by Charlie Emseis.

Frank said: “The film features a stellar ensemble cast including Stephen Fry and the A-List from the world of champagne: Taittinger president Vitalie Taittinger, Bollinger chairman Etienne Bizot, Dom Perignon wine-maker Vincent Chaperon, Sir Nicholas Soames, the grandson of Winston Churchill (who famously drank thousands of imperial pint-sized bottles of Pol Roger in his lifetime), the best-selling authors Oz Clarke, Don & Petie Kladstrup and the Queen’s winemaker, Tony Laithwaite.

“The film-makers were given unique access to film at the Queen’s vineyard at Windsor Great Park. Wiston Estate, Sugrue South Downs (and wine-maker Dermot Sugrue), Squerryes (and proprietor Henry Warde), Bolney, Hush Heath, also feature. English language film was shot on location in France, England, New York and Los Angeles.

“English sparkling wineries featuring in the film include Bolney, Hush Heath Estate, Hattingley Valley, Squerryes, Greyfriars and Wiston Estate and Her Majesty The Queen’s Vineyard at Windsor Great Park Vineyard.

“In the case of Squerryes, Henry Warde the 8th generation landowner of Squerryes Court, was inspired to plant a vineyard, following a visit from representatives of Champagne Duval Leroy. They had travelled over to France with a view to acquiring some of the Warde family’s land. Their land shares the same chalk soil as the champagne region, best manifested in the south of England by the White Cliffs of Dover.”

Frank said he hopes that by introducing filmgoers to British sparkling wine producers, it will inspire people to visit vineyards in Surrey, Kent, Hampshire and West Sussex. He said it was a big surprise to discover how well developed the English sparkling wine industry is.

“The filmmakers hope that wine tourism in England and Wales will flourish as the country opens up from lockdowns.

“The film also has an American angle, looking at how the charismatic Champagne Charlie Heidsieck charmed New York high society and brought champagne to the US, and the film was shot in iconic New York locations including Bemelsman Bar, Baccarat Bar and the glamorous Great Gatsby Ball at the Capitale, sponsored by Pommery.

“For those that liked Sideways and Sour Grapes, they will love this film. The film-makers also had exclusive access to film at Queen Elizabeth’s vineyard at Windsor Great Park where they discovered that the Queen proudly serves her sparkling wine at State Banquets at Buckingham Palace (including the one for President Trump in 2018).

Frank said: “The film is a love letter to the joys and pleasures of champagne. We were fortunate to be able to shoot during lockdown as champagne producers were classified as essential workers!

“There are so many great wine tours and tastings to be enjoyed within an hour or two’s drive from London at the likes of Bolney, Wiston Estate and Sugrue South Downs in West Sussex, Hush Heath in Kent, and Hattingley Valley in Hampshire - all great day trips.

“Our hope is that the film will open the audience’s eyes to the quality and variety of English wine and they will enjoy immersing themselves in the world of champagne and sparkling wine while raising a toast to better things ahead in 2021.”

Major champagne houses featured include Piper Heidsieck (Marilyn Monroe’s favourite & long-time sponsor of the Cannes Film Festival), Bollinger (which has appeared in 15 James Bond 007 movies including No Time To Die), Taittinger, Dom Perignon, Moet & Chandon, Cattier, Pommery, Cristal/Louis Roederer, Pol Roger, JAY Z-owned Armand de Brignac and Brad Pitt’s recently launched Champagne Fleur de Miraval, and various English wineries including Squerryes, Hattingley Valley and Bolney in West Sussex, Kent and Hampshire.